During my last class of the semester, my professor shared a marketing campaign launched by Heineken. Although the video was shown to the class to promote openness as a value that helps break through the barriers that divide us, I could not help but see the marketing strategy behind the ad.
The “Worlds Apart” ad features multiple pairs of strangers, divided by their beliefs, who meet for the first time. Each knows nothing about the other or the experiment. They are both asked to record their opinion on a given topic. Pairs brought together included a feminist and anti-feminist, a climate change activist and someone who thinks climate change is just a “piffle,” and people with opposing opinions about transgender identity. After the pair meet and give their introduction, they are tasked with putting together and building a bar table. Once the bar table was built, the video of them speaking out about their beliefs is played on a big screen in front of them. Following the end of the video, the pair is asked whether or not they would like to discuss their differences over a Heineken beer.
Using this ad, Heineken is encouraging people with differences to explore the benefit of finding common ground with one another, with the simple act of sitting down and having a conversation over a beer. Surprisingly, all the pairs agreed to sit down and discuss their differences over a beer. Many were able to share the history, background, and reasoning behind their thoughts and opinions. From the end of the video, I was able to see how each individual was able to understand the viewpoint of their partner and be open to a new perspective.
Ultimately, this ad was not pushing Heineken products. Rather, they were pushing the experiences and conversations that happen over a Heineken beer and how people from different backgrounds and cultures are pulled together to discuss their differences and understand each other from a different light.
Having been an account manager for two semesters of GMS, I am able to see the impacts of their marketing campaign and the message they are sending to their consumers.